Uri reduced to rubble
A day after the tremors shuddered through its heart ,Uri looks like a town bombed out.One of the worst affected areas in north Kashmir where over 200 have died,thequake’s effect is visible at evry corner: damaged homes,fallen trees,crushed cars, wailing mothers,siren of ambulances.And the putrid smell of death.
It just tooktwo minutes to destroy our world,said Ghulam Ahmad Dar,yet to recover from the shock of watching his grocery shopturn into a mound of rubble,seconds after the 7.4 magnitude earthquakeAhmad said he had just opened hisshop when suddenly everything started shaking and he barely managed tostep out,the shopcollapsed.People were screaming and crying for help,Ahmad recalled.
Ninety percent homes,offices and shops were razed to the ground.Whatever was left standing was either partially damaged or had developed cracks.The J&K Bank building ,designed in traditionalstyle, was badly damaged.The Uri sub-district hospital , the only medical facility here, too was extensively damaged.A sign board liying on top of debris read Uri police station.
Baramulla deputy commissioners Ajaz Ahmad Kakroo told TOI all the link roads connecting villages were blocked because of landslides triggered by the earthquake. 90% houses are damaged in 54 out of 91 villages in Uri.Almost all thehomes are not worth living in ,he said,adding that the government machinery was in action and the people were being provided relief in the form of tents and other essential commodities.
Even as rescue teams of the Army swung into action,an on-the-spot assessment of relief and rescue operation was carried out by high-profile dignitaries .UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi toured the area along with defence minister Pranab Mukherjee,parliamentary affairs minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,Army chief Gen JJ Singh,Congress generalsecretary Ambika Soni and People’s Democractic Party president Mehbooba Mufti.
Tragedy was witnessed everywhere: a desperate mother, Mahataba Begum,lookin for her missing 10 year-old son, Qayoom.Others ,too ,plough through the rubble for their kin.
The survivors rue the lack of doctors.They said that injured were being referred to Baramulla or Srinagar by para-medics who are holding the fort at the damaged hospital .We spent the night in the rain,under the open sky, said another local resident.